Difference Between North and South Korea

Korea is a region full of very beautiful landscapes. In the North and South Korean cities, huge skyscrapers, pointing out the high level of industrialization and development in the cities.


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Korean culture is also very rich, laden with delightful cuisines and extravagant festivals and many of the technological giants are also located in Korea.

North vs South Korea

The difference between North and South Korea is that North Korea is a socialist state under a dictatorship form of government whereas South Korea is a free and democratic country with a constitution.

North Korea is also geographically 20 percent bigger than South Korea. Contrastingly, South Korea leads the entertainment industry and is massively popular in media these days.

North vs South Korea

North Korea is one of the major powers in terms of weapons and influence.

The political leaders make it an extremist and pro-military country with more than 30 percent of its population working for the military.

The national ideology is called Juche which entails that every individual should be strong and self-reliant.

The country also possesses nuclear weapons and is very feared by all major powers in the world.

South Korea has a population of 51 million people.s It has a very rich social culture and is also very developed, ranking 7th in the Human Development Index.

South Korea is a really good ally of the United States. It is also a leader in digital device manufacturing and science. The entertainment industry has also boomed in recent years.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNorth KoreaSouth Korea
SizeNorth Korea covers an area of approximately 120, 540 sq. kilometers.South Korea is smaller with a land area of 100, 210 sq. kilometers.
Government It is a socialist state under a dictatorship government.It is a democratic country under a constitutional and sovereign republic.
CapitalIts capital city is called Pyongyang and it is the largest city in the country.Its largest and capital city is named Seoul and it is one of the most developed cities in the world.
EconomyIt is ranked as the 125th economy according to its proportions, with a GDP of approximately US$27.4 billion (2020).It is the 10th biggest economy among all countries with a GDP of US$1,630.87 billion (2020)
PopulationNorth Korea has a population of approximately 25.7 million people, making 0.33% of the world.South Korea has a population of approximately 51.8 million people, making 0.65% of the world.

What is North Korea?

North Korea is a strict and military country that is very closed off and has garnered an infamous reputation and is feared due to its military might and looming threats about attacks.

It has very strict rules which might seem very restrictive and inhuman to outsiders.

North Korean politics is governed by the Kim Family which has had three consecutive rulers of North Korea until now.

The family has been held in high regard by the general populace of the country and their word is the law. The birthdays and other occasions of the family are treated as national days of celebration.

North Korea has an irreligious majority. More importance is given to self-development and self-reliance.

“People should believe only in the state and work hard for its betterment” is the ideology of the country. There are still traces of the population practicing Christianity and Confuscianism.

North Korea is one of the prominent powers of the world despite its small size because of its military might and threat of nuclear weapons.

The Supreme Leader has often shown acts of cruelty and the country is also in competition with the likes of greater powers such as the US.

What is South Korea?

South Korean culture has recently become a massive sensation among young millennial people due to the music and movies made in the country.

Its eating culture has also become a massive hit on video streaming platforms.

South Korea, unlike North Korea, has adopted a democratic and people-friendly policy.

It is one of the most prominent technological and entrepreneurial economies of the world, with massive development throughout. It is the 10th richest economy in the world.

Some of the world’s most appreciated brands such Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, are from Korea.

The transportation system of South Korea is the most developed in the world equipped with some of the fastest trains in the world.

Its entertainment industry has also boomed in recent years, being called a “little Hollywood“. The cuisine and culture of the country are also very distinct and recognized worldwide.

South Korea has been ranked as the seventh country according to the Human Development Index which measures happiness and satisfaction.

Unlike its counterpart, South Korea has very good political and trading relations with the US. It has the highest number of troops kept in reserve in the whole world.

Main Differences Between North and South Korea

  1. North Korea is a totalitarian state with strict rules and severe punishments whereas South Korea is a democracy where people wield the right to vote and choose their own lawmakers.
  2. North Korea is geographically 20% smaller and almost half as densely populated as South Korea where approximately 56 Million people live.
  3. South Korea is the 7th best country according to HDI and is widely regarded as a good and developed country whereas North Korea is widely frowned upon for not having adequate living and health conditions with more focus on military might.
  4. South Korea is one of the G20 economies of the world and has much better economic statistics than North Korea.
  5. South Korea has more cultural influence over the world since North Korean borders are practically closed for trade and other exchanges to the majority of the world.
Difference Between North and South Korea


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marcus-Noland/publication/23725116_The_Future_of_North_Korea_is_South_Korea/links/0046351841f00c908a000000/The-Future-of-North-Korea-is-South-Korea.pdf
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/brownjwa15&section=26
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